Saturday, August 31, 2013

Day 3, Part 3 - Leaving the Discovery City

Here's what you missed on Day 3 of the Great America Race:

We learned how Columbus's bike share program works. We solved several clues involving statues. I took a completely unnecessary tour of the COSI Museum. Wei-Hwa did an amazing Arnold Schwarzenegger voice impression. Then Dan, Rich and Wei-Hwa all competed for the Mr. Universe title but I couldn't choose between them. I mean, could you? Their poses were all so incredible.

Our next clue was at the Celebration of Life statue and the accompanying riddle indicated we should use four left out somethings.

I started examining the statue and its plaques looking for a reference to some list of things with four missing but Wei-Hwa immediately keyed onto the correct idea of determining the 4 letters (B, G, J and X) that were unused in the plaque's text. Using each letter as a Caesar shift of sections of the ciphertext resulted in the message "FIND YOUR SELF THE UNICORN".

This led us to the Children's Fountain in Battelle Riverfront Park across the bridge where we found some charming sculptures depicting the story of Pickaweekee.

We wanted to find a weakness and a fear that we could anagram together to make a short phrase Jack or a dodger might say. We easily found the unicorn's weakness was taste, but the fear was not as obvious. I found the griffin had a fear of being wrong while Dan discovered the lion had a fear of nothing he could see or hear or smell. I convinced Dan that the lion's fear seemed a little wordy to use in an anagram and so we continued searching nearby. We were stuck here for a bit until Wei-Hwa ignored my argument and managed to combine TASTE and NOTHING to make NOT THE GIANTS. We immediately tried using this phrase to decrypt the Vigenère but received only gibberish. Wei-Hwa then suggested there might have been a mistake with the doubled T's and to try NO THE GIANTS instead. This worked and we were directed to seek the Tomb of Howald. Josh had actually discovered the error in this puzzle and had given us an errata for it which we had overlooked. We like to make things difficult for ourselves.

The Tomb of Howald was located in a cemetery a good distance away so we needed to head back to our van. We didn't park near a bike station so in the interest of saving time, Rich rode all the way back and then drove himself and his bike to meet the rest of us at a bike station. This ended up proving quite convenient as it gave us time to pick up some Jeni's ice cream which we had been informed was a local Columbus institution. I had double-toasted coconut and salty caramel, both of which were delicious. Rich and Dan also had some ice cream but their chosen flavors were much less impressive.

We got a little lost looking for the tomb and first visited an impressive mausoleum a little distance away from the cemetery. It was located down a dirt road and was pretty obviously the wrong place but we still searched the entire grounds nonetheless.

This was completely the wrong place to be but that didn't stop Wei-Hwa from solving the clue that would've been there had this place been a proper location and if it had a clue. But it wasn't and it didn't.
We did make it to the proper cemetery and Dan used his impressive Internet grave-searching abilities to locate the tomb.

The entrance to the tomb had eight squares on it, each of which had been divided into eight triangular sections like slices of pizza. Entering the text from the clue into this pattern directed us to find the year of the Soldiers and Sailors monument.

We used the year as a Vigenère on the next group of text and were told to use the year once again on Clue #11 which was just a single decimal number. Multiplying the number by the year resulted in a phone number which we promptly called.

The recording we reached led us to another tomb where we found our CD and traveling clue buried behind an urn. At this point we were already pretty confident that we were leading the other teams but it was still nice to find all 3 sets of clues. Off to Cincy!

The traveling clue involved songs from the CD and a page with pictures of famous people. Wei-Hwa didn't recognize Paris Hilton and I was both shocked at his lack of pop culture knowledge and a little proud of him. I thought this clue was a lot of fun; probably my favorite of all the traveling clues. Rather than detail its solution, I am presenting it here for any curious reader who would like to try to solve it on their own. We also had to use the puzzle's answer as a Vigenère key but I will spare you that step.

Music files (63MB)

Well, I suppose I should give everyone a chance to solve the puzzle so I'll stop here for now. Hopefully I'll have the final installment of Day 3 posted tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. The Legend of "Pick a weak key"? Sounds like a story codebreakers tell to scare each other around the campfire.